Of the 49 independent states in Europe that are UN members or have UN Observer status:

  • 1 (2%) maintains the death penalty in both law and practice – Belarus.
  • 47 (96%) have abolished it.
  • 0 (0%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
  • 1 (2%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium – Russia.

Of the 6 European limited recognition states not included in the above numbers – Kosovo has abolished capital punishment and the remaining 5 are considered de facto abolitionist -Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, & Transnistria.

The information above is accurate as of 2011 when Latvia abolitished capital punishment in all circumstances.

  • Since 1997 Belarus is the only country in Europe to still carry out executions. 2009 is the only year in recorded history when Europe was completely free of executions.

Executions in Europe in 2010: Belarus (2).
Executions in Europe in 2011: Belarus (2)


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